What's the Weather like in Hokkaido in February
Winter is still bearing down on Hokkaido during the month of February. Days may be short and oftentimes dark, yet the ubiquitous heavy snowfall in the mountainous regions make Hokkaido a sparkling splendour on a crystal clear winter day. Enjoying the therapeutic effects of the numerous thermal baths is by far one of the most enticing aspects of travelling to Hokkaido in February.
Whilst the monthly averages sit at about -4°C, lows of -7°C can make for frosty days, especially when one considers that highs, this month, will usually only reach 0°C. Much like January, February is also a brilliant time to visit Hokkaido, as most days tend to be dry and all sightseeing spot blissfully uncrowded.
The average precipitation in February drops slightly from the dead of winter to 63 mm, and even with only 4 hours of average daily sunshine, the slopes are sure to be very enjoyable. If you're a snow lover then this is the month for you!
Rain may be few and far between but snowstorms are definitely on the cards. Snowfall is at its peak in February, so pack some warm clothing and come revel in Japan's most astonishing playground. Sapporo, on the other hand, expects around 100mm of rain in the month of February.
Average Sea Temperature
This is also the month when you can catch a glimpse of the wondrous icebergs which float off the frosty coast. Forget any water-based activities this month, however, as the average sea temperatures in February are only 6°C.
Hokkaido Hotels in February
Lake Shikotsu Tsuruga Resort and Spa
Immerse yourself in Japanese luxury and Hokkaido's natural environment at the Lake Shikotsu Tsuruga Resort and Spa. This resort is nestled in a peaceful forest along the shores of Lake Shikotsu merely one hour away from downtown Sapporo. This means you can enjoy a few days' exploration of the capital before moving on to this delightfully relaxing place.
This resort is water themed and designed with the guest's relaxation in mind. The hotel offers a buffet-style dining experience made with local and organic produce and a spa that is rooted in the steaming onsen spring waters of the famed area. Here, you'll have the choice of western or traditional bedrooms, private open-air onsen, as well as a myriad of activities both within and outside of the resort. If you're looking for a relaxing, opulent place in which to enjoy the best of Hokkaido then the Tsuruga Resort is definitely the place for you.
Lakeside Villa Suimeikaku
If you prefer to visit the lake whilst staying in a boutique hotel, then don't walk past the Lakeside Villa Suimeikaku, a delightful 8-bedroom inn which offers a peaceful stay in luxurious surroundings. One of the most charming and picturesque accommodation choices in Chitose, this absolute waterfront hotel boasts 8 lake-view rooms (with private hot springs in each) and an exquisite French fusion restaurant. Suimeikaku is one of the most serene accommodation choices in Hokkaido and ideal for those who want to get away from it all.
Ski Resorts in Hokkaido
With slashing of Siberian winds and an abundant amount of fresh powder fall, Hokkaido is Japan's premier skiing destination and possibly the main reason you'd want to visit in February. Although Sapporo boasts 6 ski resorts within a short drive, you may also want to head out for a few days to ski the most outstanding slopes on the entire island.
For this, you'll need to travel to Niseko, about 100kms south-west out of Sapporo, the reputed headquarters of Hokkaido skiing. Affectionately known as Hokkaido's 'snow factory', Niseko is great for skiers and snow boarders who love their slopes deep but not too steep. Niseko boasts fantastic off-piste and easily accessible backcountry ski runs, although it tends to be bleak during the winter months. If superlative sunshine is a priority then this may not be the best place for you.
If it's an over the top skiing trip you're after, the Tomamu may just be the spot for you. Incredibly appointed and boasting a brilliant variety of fun activities like hot air ballooning, dog-sledding and heli-skiing, among so many others, this incredible ski resort offers one of the most comprehensive holidaying options in the whole country. Mostly suited to families or those wishing to have a relaxing time on the snow, Tomamu is merely an hour and a half's drive from Sapporo but of course the best way to enjoy it is to spend a few nights in its lovely chalets.
Bars and Restaurants
Should you take on our recommendation to visit Chitose, then don' miss your chance to savour some delectable traditional sweets at Morimoto Honten, a fab little local bakery and a true Chitose institution which still bakes breads, biscuits and desserts the old fashioned way. Morimoto supplies sweets to most of the Sapporo department stores, so you're bound to come across their divine creations even before you head to Chitose. Although the very colourful sweets on offer may look totally foreign to you, do be bold with your choice! You're guaranteed to never be disappointed. You'll find this modest looking bakery on Chiyodacho Street, right in the centre of town.
Ramen Shingen Minami-6joten
For an authentic night of ramen savouring, head to Ramen Shingen Minami-6joten, a budget noodle house which is a big hit with locals of visitors alike. A steaming bowl of spicy ramen with garlic paste is bound to warm you up on a freezing February day. The waiting line here can seem atrocious at first, but do trust the Japanese efficiency! You'll be seated and served in no time at all. You'll find this place just near the Susukino red-light district, so ask your hotel for a detailed map and you should find it with ease.
Things to do in Hokkaido in February
Lake Shikotsu is a beautiful crater lake that was formed over 40,000 years ago and remains blissfully unfrozen even during the harsh winter months. This stunning lake is surrounded by forested hills that make it an idyllic escape from the busy Japanese cities. On the eastern lakeshore you'll find an informative visitor centre where you can learn all about the formation of the crater.
Aside the delightful hot springs, you also have the chance to enjoy snowmobile riding and sledding down the snow covered hills surrounding the lake. Although most activities on the lake (scuba diving, swan boat and speed boat riding) are only available during the summer months, February is nonetheless a very special time to visit and arguably the best to enjoy the thermal activity, something which makes this one of Japan's most sought-after destinations.
Sapporo Underground Pedestrian Space
Considering the fact that you'll probably reach Hokkaido via Sapporo, it's worth keeping in mind that this capital city has many worthy attractions, so do plan at least a few days here before moving on. For a spot of excellent shopping in February, get out of the chill and head straight down through the Sapporo Underground Pedestrian Space, which admittedly doesn't sound nearly as appealing as it is! You'll find an infinite amount of cool shops here, as well as fresh produce stalls, major department stores and a wide selection of great eateries. This 2-floos shopping mecca is best enjoyed in winter and especially on week-ends, when many fun activities are put on to help local families deal with restless tots.